Photo: Giulia Forsythe
I hear quite often that we should try to work in an interdisciplinary environment when doing science. Heads of my university repeat this sentence in every meeting they go, as they try to explain us that there is the future of science.
I believe I usually am in a uni-disciplinary environment. For example I am only invited to seminars in my field, where colleagues from other research groups in the same department are not welcome "because you are not a part of this team". I also don't know what my officemates are working in, and I see them every day, but we are from "different" areas of expertise in the department, meaning different supervisors.
If I imagine an interdisciplinary research group, I might think of a room with experts in different fields (e.g. computer scientist, biologist, foresters, statisticians,...) working together to answer the same question. But I also see two uni-disciplinary issues in this room. First we are judging them by their past work as uni-disciplinary experts and not for what they can do in the future, and secondly, if these experts bring their past expertise as the only or dominant way of seeing things, is that really interdisciplinary?
But then, I also see myself some how interdisciplinary. I am a forester trained in engineering and science, trying to become a PhD in forest sciences. But I don't work in the forest or wear a white lab coat. I spend most of my working time in front of a computer where I sometimes code, write, do statistical analysis and see the forest from ecological, productive or engineering side. Then, what is the correct way of calling myself?
Maybe Sean R Eddy  is right and the whole idea that we are promoting of "we must be interdisciplinary" is wrong. What we need is to forget about old disciplines, and what we really want is ante-disciplinary science.
 Eddy, S.R., 2005. “Antedisciplinary” Science. PLoS Computational Biology, 1(1), p.e6.
This post is part of the serie "Olalla´s trip to science" if you want to know more about this trip click here